Cedar Fair adds visual flair and enhanced functionality to its interactive maps with MapLayr

Known for its record-breaking coasters and award-winning water parks, Cedar Fair is committed to delivering a world-class experience for every guest. When the digital team decided to relaunch the group's mobile app platform, they chose MapLayr by Attractions.io to guarantee an exceptional navigation experience at their US theme parks.
Known for its record-breaking coasters and award-winning water parks, Cedar Fair is committed to delivering a world-class experience for every guest. When the digital team decided to relaunch the group's mobile app platform, they chose MapLayr by Attractions.io to guarantee an exceptional navigation experience at their US theme parks.
11 locations
MapLayr intergration
Offline-first wayfinding


Cedar Fair

Cedar Fair Entertainment Company (NYSE: FUN), one of the largest regional amusement-resort operators in the world, is a publicly traded partnership headquartered in Sandusky, Ohio. Focused on its mission to make people happy by providing fun, immersive, and memorable experiences, the Company owns and operates 13 properties, consisting of 11 amusement parks, four separately gated outdoor water parks, and resort accommodations totalling more than 2,300 rooms and more than 600 luxury RV sites. Cedar Fair’s parks are located in Ohio, California, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Missouri, Michigan, Texas and Toronto, Ontario.

The Challenge

The digital team at Cedar Fair team needed a set of beautifully branded, interactive maps to wow guests and build excitement for their next visit. Each map needed to convey the atmosphere and theme of the individual park, deliver the functionality required to guide people to their next adventure, and, importantly, be easy to scale across the entire Cedar Fair portfolio. 

"Our previous maps were very non-descript and understated. They were functional, but they didn’t convey the excitement of visiting our parks,"  Jim Denny, VP of Digital at Cedar Fair told us. "And that was a problem because guests rely on our wayfinding. In our parks, you can’t always just look at the map, find an oversized landmark on the horizon, look around you and head straight over. People may need turn-by-turn directions and need to follow the route on the screen to get them where they need to be."

Having already invested in a new custom mobile app platform, the Cedar Fair team had to make a choice on mapping: either commit to building a wayfinding engine from scratch as part of the app development project, or find an off-the-shelf product that delivered the functionality they needed.  

"We contacted several established providers to see what they could offer us, but they were never the right fit financially, or their product wasn't quite what we needed when it came to theming and appearance. A lot of the existing platforms out there are built for spaces like shopping malls and roadways. As we went deeper into the discovery process, it became clear that they couldn't reflect the atmosphere we've worked hard to create at our parks."
Jim Denny
VP of Digital at Cedar Fair

The Solution

“I had spoken with Attractions.io in the past and the team had always been very willing to share their insights and learnings, so I got back in touch with a quick message saying, 'Hey, we are building a new app; it's going to be custom. Can we chat about maps?'" 

Jim reached out to Peter O’Dare, VP of Product at Attractions.io, and they explored the opportunity for Cedar Fair to use MapLayr, Attractions.io’s new map SDK, as a standalone wayfinding solution. MapLayr leverages the wayfinding engine that powers the mapping experience for Attractions.io’s mobile app platform, which is used by millions of guests worldwide, including by operators like Merlin Entertainments, The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, and Butlin’s. This gave the team at Cedar Fair the security and performance of an enterprise SaaS solution, while still being able to deliver the custom functionality they required from their app.

An eye for design

The team conducted an initial test at Carowinds to review functionality, look and feel. "It has been amazing to see how the illustrators work. These people have never walked through our parks, but when I'm onsite and looking at one of our buildings on the map, it's perfect. Functionally, it's more sophisticated than our previous solution, and our testers loved that you could orient, zoom and tilt the map to suit your search preferences."

And the rest, as they say, is history. Cedar Fair partnered with Attractions.io to embed MapLayer in all 11 new theme park apps, starting with Carowinds, which launched in late 2023.

"Overall, I've been amazed at how well the MapLayr team captured the essence of our parks and how accurate the maps are. When we have changes or new rides, and I send over the plans, everything is always perfectly positioned, and the wayfinding delivers you to the precise point you need. I’ve been impressed by the team's ability to capture the details and nuance that make our parks unique." – Jim Denny

Collaboration & partnership

The team at Cedar Fair believe a shared ethos of collaboration and partnership has contributed to the project's success so far. “The Attractions.io team would say, ‘You know, when we were building our platform, we ran into this problem, and you might want to address it as you go forward.' It was always such a good relationship in the sense that the team were willing to share their expertise."

In addition to avoiding some of the bumps and bruises often experienced by firms building their first custom apps, choosing MapLayr gave the Cedar Fair team the headspace to focus on the core of their app. 

"Maps and wayfinding were never a source of worry as we went through the relaunch. I felt confident that I could focus on the other aspects of the project, knowing that the team would deliver on time and as promised. Attractions.io is doing all the heavy lifting on this fundamental component of our app."

The Results

The new Carowinds' app has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from guests. Exit Surveys repeatedly highlight the maps & wayfinding functionality as one of the highest-scoring features in the app. Guests say the new maps and wayfinding are easier to use and contribute to a better experience overall. "When guests use the Carowinds app, they tell us mapping and wayfinding is the easiest tool to use." Jim told us. "The overwhelming sentiment is that it's a huge improvement over our previous experience."

Following a successful launch at Carowinds, Cedar Fair has added MapLayr at Cedar Point and Knott’s Berry Farm, with plans to roll out the app to all of its US parks in 2024.

"The new maps are truly fantastic. Guests have responded positively, finding the maps both intuitive to use and engaging. It's not just about finding their way around; it's about immersing themselves in the digital representation of our parks."
Jim Denny
VP of Digital at Cedar Fair

About Attractions.io

The Attractions.io platform enables real-world businesses to lead in the digital age. Our guest experience apps and powerful platform for operators provide world-renowned attractions like LEGOLAND, San Diego Zoo and Butlin’s with the tools and data they need to deliver better outcomes and experiences. From virtual queuing and interactive maps to enhanced communication with guests, we’ve got the know-how to future proof your attraction for the digital age.

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